Can You Use A Meat Thermometer For Candy?

Perhaps, you have come across stumbled upon a recipe that demands a candy thermometer. You got stuck and suspended your newly discovered recipe hoping that someday you will acquire the specific thermometer for candy.

In your kitchen cabinet, you have a meat thermometer. So, will you use a meat thermometer for achieving your desired candy recipe? Will a meat thermometer detect accurate readings for you?

Successful candy-making depends on the temperature at different stages. With the proper temperatures, you can achieve marshmallows, fudges, lollipops, and any other type of mouth-watering candies that you fantasize about. 

Candy experts recommend using a candy thermometer to achieve different outcomes. You must test the temperature for the appropriate texture, from the softball candies to medium or hardball recipes. 

If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can use a meat thermometer. But it will depend on the type of meat thermometer that you have in your cabinet.

Before the advent of thermometers, the ancient test includes the cold water method, where you drop hot syrup in the water to determine whether it is soft or hard. Then innovation dropped the analog meat thermometer. This one does not give accurate readouts because of its limited temperature range.

We now have digital thermometers. Despite the shortcomings like the high price and use of batteries and intelligent apps requiring receiver gadgets, these food thermometers accurately take the temperatures. 

Even more innovative is the digital instant-read meat thermometer. The thermometer records high ratings enough to record any candy ingredients temperature during the various stages. If you have this type of meat thermometer or any other, you may be tempted to use it during your candy-making adventures. 

In addition, candy making comes with many thermometer-related questions. Read our fabulous article and get all the answers regarding candy and meat thermometers!

What’s The Difference Between A Meat Thermometer And A Candy Thermometer?

The purpose of these two kinds of thermometers is to detect food temperatures, meat, and candy, to be specific. You can see that we define their differences based on their specific purposes. 

Let’s look at each one of these thermometers to take note of their differences. 

What are Candy Thermometers?

Candy thermometers are not new in modern kitchens. They are essential tools that measure the temperature of candy ingredients. That includes sugar, honey, syrup, and other ingredients in various boiling stages. 

The first stage of candy making involves heating sugar. Sugar melts to syrup at 230 degrees Fahrenheit and then to the caramel state at 338 degrees Celsius. The high temperature tells you that the candy-making process involves high temperatures.  

High temperatures help you achieve hard or soft candy. A candy thermometer has to be high-temperature resistance to allow you to test this extreme heat.

With this type of thermometer, you can also test other foods like fluids that boil at high temperatures. The fluids include the boiling oil in your deep fryer.

What are Meat Thermometers?

At 145 to 170 degrees Celsius, your meat will be ready for munching. Meat thermometers are specific to checking meat temperature in ovens and grills.

We have got two types, the analog, and the digital meat thermometers. The analog types are specific to testing meat temperature since they cannot test highly high temperatures. 

With the digital type, you have a multipurpose tool that can help you take higher temperatures up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit. That means the digital meat thermometer can deliver accurate candy temperature readings. 

Besides the high readings ability for digital types of meat thermometers, their design allows them to withhold extreme temperatures. The kitchen tools also come in instant-read designs, meaning that they take their subject temperature readings instantly. 

In about three to five seconds, you have your food temperature readouts. That makes the instant-read digital meat thermometer a favorable and great option for checking on your candy ingredients. That is if you do not have a candy thermometer.

Can A Meat Thermometer Be Substituted For A Candy Thermometer?

Yes, a meat thermometer can be substituted for a candy thermometer.

A meat thermometer is an excellent substitute for a candy thermometer, but not every other design. The design you choose as a substitute should be highly tolerant to high temperatures.

An example is the probe thermometer, a type that works with smokers. The thermometer can hammer away high coal and smoker temperature and is thus the best substitute for a candy thermometer.   

Why Do We Recommend The Probe Thermometer? 

As we saw earlier, the old fashion or analog meat thermometer can trouble you with the readings. The display is relatively small, plus you have to read everything manually. Even if you check the hot candy mixture, you would have to get closer to the hot stuff. 

An Analogue thermometer also requires calibrating, an annoying and inconveniencing exercise, especially if you are a beginner. The digital probe doesn’t.

In addition, if the probe thermometer you intend to use has a long probe, this is better if the pot is deep. The digital probe thermometer comes with tons of features, and of course, a high price. It is classy, easy to read, and gives you accurate measurements.  

In simple words, you will find a meat probe the best substitute for a candy thermometer.

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How Can You Tell Temperature Without A Candy Thermometer?

It is possible to tell the temperature of your syrup without a candy thermometer. This is the simplest process to detect candy temperature;

You need;

  • A bowl of cold water
  • Spoon
  • Hot syrup


  1. Place the bowl of cold water near the hob.
  2. Scoop some syrup with the spoon and drop it in the cold water.
  3. Leave the syrup to cool.
  4. Pick up the already formed syrup ball using the spoon: A sticky ball means the syrup is into the softball stage, an ideal formula for making marzipans and fudges.

To attain a hard, you have to go on with steps five and above.

  • Continue heating the syrup and repeat step two. Scoop a spoonful and pour again in the bowl. Let the syrup cool and check for firmness: a tough and firm ball, hard to reshape, is excellent for marshmallows and other hardball candies.

Step six is the hard crack syrup.

  • Increase the heat to help the sugar temperature to rise. The syrup will begin to get browner and browner until it hardens. You cannot crack the syrup because it is with bare hands. That means your mixture is ideal for hard toffees, lollipops, and other hard candy.

Can A Candy Thermometer Go In The Oven?

Compared to pots and pans over the fire, oven temperatures are significantly higher. Using your candy thermometer in the oven will be risking shuttering your glass kitchen tool.

Candy thermometers are glass designs that can break due to changes in temperatures. Moreover, the thermometer’s heat ranges are 100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. An oven can go as high as 550 degrees Fahrenheit, which can leave your candy thermometer in pieces!

You cannot use a candy thermometer in an oven.

Even if you measure your oven’s temperature, a candy thermometer will not be ideal as the tool uses only its base to measure heat. We recommend acquiring a suitable oven thermometer to detect your oven temperature and not a candy thermometer.

You can use the candy companion to check the water and milk temperatures before mixing your ingredients. Also, use a candy thermometer for your deep-fryer and making candies.

Can You Use A Meat Thermometer For Sugar?

Yes, you can use a meat thermometer for sugar or candy. The tool will detect your syrups temperature and any other ingredients you are using for your candy.  

If you have a meat thermometer that can go up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit, you can use the tool for sugar.

A meat probe thermometer is an excellent bargain as it will attain this extremely high temperature. This kitchen device will give you the exact temperature at different stages of your candy-making.

Just make sure that the tip doesn’t touch the pan’s base; otherwise, you will not get accurate results. We recommend that you buy a candy thermometer for the best results.

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Final Thoughts

Making candy is not a new recipe. The process has been in our kitchens for more decades. The firmest of all candies require proper monitoring of your ingredients’ temperatures at different stages. You can make the softest balls like fudges and also the famous hardball, Jaw Breaker.

The results depend on how keenly you follow the recipe instructions. First, the recipe comes with candy temperatures at different steps. Suppose you do not have a candy thermometer; check in your drawer for a probe meat thermometer. The digital type will give you better results.

If you do not have any thermometers at your disposal, we have shown you how to measure the temperature at a different point. Just a bowl of cold water and a spoon to scoop your syrup is enough.

When you drop the syrup n the cold water, you will detect whether the mixture is ready or not depending on the texture after cooling. Keep on checking until you get your desired results.

Buy a candy thermometer and spare yourself from the complicated candy-making process. Remember that you should never use your candy thermometer in your oven. Have a thrilling candy-making adventure!

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